Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 29, Tuesday July 29, 2008















Garden in a dish

There is no worry so great that can't be eased by watching greenery. A garden no matter how small can become an important area for releasing stress and finding hope.

It is especially important to make sure that your home feels lively. You can easily decorate your living area and verandah with living plants potted in hand crafted pottery. Today, our focus is on 'garden in a dish'. Like the arts of bonsai or indoor pot plants, nature here is controlled, manipulated and compartmentalizes to purely human ideals of nature.

Setting up a dish garden is easy and will only require a small list of materials and plants to make everything complete. The majority of your time spent is in selecting the right container, accents and the plants. Start by selecting small and easy-to-grow plants, adding a few simple accents of driftwood or pebbles, and you're on your way to landscaping a piece of living artwork. With a little care, your dish garden can flourish and become a conversational piece at home or office.

Your dish garden should be planted in an open, shallow container. The size is only relevant to the number of plants it contains. You can choose to use products, which are designed for other uses, and surprise yourself at how perfect the planter may turn up as a dish garden. Personally, I prefer to use a dish instead of a bowl because it has a wider surface area to work on. A small piece of driftwood or decorative items like a ceramic bird, little wooden bridges would also do the trick.

There are only three or four simple steps for creating a dish garden.

Earth work
The base of the dish should be filled up to about one inch with hydroton (expended brown clay). Next, use a well-mixed commercial potting soil, consisting of peat moss, sand, perlite, vermiculite and sometimes coco peat. Add potting mix until it fills up the dish halfway.

Plants and planting
Dish gardens have limited root space; the plants will tend to outgrow their planter quite quickly. Therefore, it would be wise to choose slow growing plants to avoid the necessity for repotting them too often. Hence, plants such as Fittonia, Hedera Henix and Ficus pulima, which have the same general lighting and water requirements, are good candidates for a dish garden. Before proceeding, ensure that the plants are thoroughly watered especially at the roots. You can sketch out or visualize different planting arrangements; do it together with the small pieces of garden accents which you plan to use. It is important to arrange the plants according to how the dish garden is most likely to be viewed. Do not include too many plants for the sake of having it look immediately full. By adding fewer plants, you will have a healthier garden that is more manageable. In time, patience will reward you!

We can use small pebbles to hide any bare plant stems, or to highlight an area of the garden. Any other ornaments such as birds, butterflies you choose to add to your landscape, will also add to the artistry and the character of your dish garden.

To create a small heaven on your earth, look for spaces that can be transformed into an in door garden.

Nazneen Haque Mimi
Interior Consultant
E-mail: journeym@citechco.net
Photo credit: Tamim Sujat
Special thanks: Rashida Bashar



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